2020 has been a challenging year for many businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic with many having to furlough workers in order to keep the business afloat. Managing Director of Ambitions Personnel, Mandy Watson takes a look at what recruitment might look like in the next few months.
As reports of plans being drawn up to relax lockdown guidelines appear, businesses are also thinking about just how they can adapt to this in the short term.
At the beginning of the year, UK employment was at a record high, with reports from 2019 showing that 90% of the UK job market was candidate-driven. Recruitment agencies and a mix of candidates applying to a variety of jobs through many different sites were helping with this, but what will the job market and recruitment look like for the next six months? It all seems so different in such a short space of time.
From candidate-driven to market-led
Over the next six months, we will undoubtedly see an increase in job seekers across different industries, so there may not necessarily be a shortage of workers with specific skills, but employers should not take this for granted, and should still want their businesses seen as a great and secure place to work. The mass job losses caused by the Coronavirus outbreak will leave candidates unnerved.
For anyone who has suffered a job loss through no fault of their own due to the pandemic, they should take the opportunity to perfect their CV and upskill in any way they can. This could be by either working on a portfolio, taking online classes or seeking to improve on skills they already possess.
Demand will increase
Businesses will need to deal with an influx of job seekers all looking to take up gainful employment. The facts as they stand are that the economy needs people to spend money for businesses to thrive, so jobs will be of the highest priority, especially as so many freelancers out there are without their steady income streams due to COVID-19.
New ways of working?
Since the outbreak, it has become clear that home working is possible for many, but this may well be a double-edged sword for some. Working remotely may well have its benefits in the short-term, but it must be taken into account that many firms have been forced into this position.
While some may well have thrived from being isolated, many will be struggling with their mental health and a lack of a rigid structure may have had a hit on general productivity too. Many will be considering casting aside the office costs altogether, but the true value of human interaction, even with social distancing cannot be underestimated.
We may be entering a ‘new normal’ as some are advocating, but the established working day does offer that reliability and structure that some crave.
Technology, on the other hand, may have become more of a necessity, the likes of Zoom may mean travel times are cut down and cloud services such as Google Docs may have paved the way for more efficient ways of working.
In terms of recruitment, technology may also have more of an impact than many might anticipate. A more sleek interview process may be available now more people are au fait with chat software such as Zoom and Skype and so interview that may have taken hours can now be completed in a much shorter time.
The corporate uptake on chat software will also benefit applicants looking at relocating for work as they can carry out the early stages of their interview process without the travel expenses. Already, we are hearing of more applicants willing to relocate due to the high demand for work.
A return to 2019 levels?
Right now, if the current lockdown is relaxed, it should be eminently possible for the economy and recruitment, in general, to return to how it previously was with regards to high employment, but some businesses will struggle more to recover more than others.
It will be interesting to see how the industries that have served the country well during this time will develop or perform over the next year as well. In Lincolnshire in particular, food production, logistics and other essential industries have kept the supply chain moving. Those who are wise to the situation will capitalise on that, meaning that they will reap the rewards of providing great service through tough times.
It may also change the ways in which candidates behave. Many will have taken this time to either adapt to or improve upon their job prospects and so an unexpected tranche of keen job seekers may appear where there was a deficit before.
2020 is certainly turning out to be a challenging year for recruitment. Time will tell how much has changed and what the purported ‘new normal’ will look like.